Publication date : January 27th, 2016
Publisher : Allen & Unwin
Genre : Young Adult | Thriller
Page Count: 398
Synopsis : What if the most terrifying person you’d ever met was your ten-year old sister?
‘I promise,’ said Rosa. ‘I won’t kill and I won’t make anyone else kill.’
I can’t see the loophole. Since the guinea pig there’s been nothing. Months now without Rosa killing as much as a mosquito.
As far as I know.
Che Taylor has four items on his list: 1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym. 2. He wants a girlfriend. 3. He wants to go home. 4. He wants to keep Rosa under control.
Che’s little sister Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and so good at deception that Che’s convinced she must be a psychopath. She hasn’t hurt anyone yet, but he’s certain it’s just a matter of time. And when their parents move them to New York City, Che longs to return to Sydney and his three best friends. But his first duty is to his sister Rosa, who is playing increasingly complex and disturbing games. Can he protect Rosa from the world – and the world from Rosa? (From Goodreads)
Review Edit (May 2017):
Oh boy, this book is a mess, which again, I failed to see. It has a lot of anti-semitism embbed in it which once it was brought to my attention I couldn’t unsee, it’s truly disturbing. I can’t go in depth about all the thing that this book does wrong because it is not my lane but if you want to know more, DM me on twitter so I can direct you to where I got all the information I know.
This book was NOT what I expected, I expected a wild ride, full of big plot points and scary scenes but it wasn’t that. It was sneaky, it made me think nothing too bad would happen, that it’s all going to be fine, but NOOO, everything went downhill and nothing was fine. I was set on 3 stars but, the last few chapters snatched that 4th star from me and I could do nothing about it, because that ending was good. Mind-blowing. It went in a direction I didn’t expect it to go and it was amazing.
The writing is good and simple, not too many artifices but it fits the narrative. The book is written from a 17 year old boy’s POV and I could see that in the way the book is written, the book has an authentic teenager’s voice, but not a normal one, more like a teenager who’s had to mature too quickly and that’s exactly how Che (the MC) is. My Sister Rosa is written in present tense but there are some parts written in the past that are flashbacks, which makes the back and forth clear and avoids any confusion as to where in the book’s timeline one event or another stands.
The main problem I had for most of the book is that it read more like a contemporary than a thriller, it followed the MC’s daily life, his crush, his friendships more than anything else. There wasn’t the sense of imminent danger and urgency that usually comes built-in with the genre. But on chapter 35, I realized that was clever move on the author’s part, I believed that everything would be alright and forgot that I SHOULDN’T TRUST THE HAPPINESS, I forgot that this was a thriller and that things aren’t supposed to be fine so it came back and bit me. But I must give credit where credit is due THAT ENDING IS BLOODY BRILLIANT. That’s all you need to know.
The portrayal of psychopathy in this book was unlike anything I’ve ever read before and it’s the most accurate as well. Like it’s said in the book: Not all psychopaths like to kill. And that was little Rosa’s case, she’s always, scheming, plotting, figuring out ways to go around restrictions, loop-holes in the promises Che makes her keep to do things she perceives as fun, like hurting people, lying, manipulating, etc… but she never expressed a direct desire to kill people. And that too explains how the book lacked that sense of danger.
One thing I loved about this book is while still having a plot to follow, the author took the time to incorporate social issues matters that need more awareness like the so-called color blindness and how it isn’t a good thing, biraciality, faith, street harassment, police brutality, among other things.
In that same train of thought, the cast of characters is extremely diverse as well. There is black rep, white-korean rep, non-binary rep, F/F romance, etc… and none of it was forced or used as filler as some may think. It just felt natural that these people were the way they were. We need more of that, thanks.
Che was a very interesting character to follow. He is an average boy, very clever and doing everything he can to protect the world from his little sister since his parents are in deep denial about the fact that there is a great chance their daughter may be a psychopath. And that is such a huge responsibility to lay upon a teenage boy, and that made him very mature and cautious while still keeping some of his innocence. It’s a weird mixture, I know, but it works. What was the most striking is to read that despite everything, he still loved his sister more than anything, he was always there for her, to hear her out even if he knows that she’ll never be capable of reciprocating that love and genuine interest.
Rosa is the perfect little girl, sweet and smart. In appearance. But she’s always one second late to doing things that come naturally to other people like smiling, crying and laughing. As the book progresses and she finds new ways to do what she want to do, she gets creepier, scarier and starts making bigger, bolder gestures. She doesn’t have any filters with Che, he’s the only person she’s her wholesome self with, most of the conversations she had with him, the things she said to him made me shudder, especially since she did so with such calm and composure. It was normal to her. All of it.
I knew I wanted to read this book the moment I heard of it; And although it wasn’t what I expected, it was still a very fascinating read.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read My Sister Rosa If so, what did you think?
What did you think of the ending? Did you expect that to happen?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.